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Surprise! We Went to Puerto Rico! (Part One)

January 16th, 2014 | Posted by Emily in Bungie on the Road

I kept a secret from Daniel for nearly two months. I booked a trip to Puerto Rico back in October to celebrate Daniel’s 30th birthday (which falls just after Christmas). I planned the entire thing behind Daniel’s back and didn’t tell him until he’d opened a series of gifts that hinted at the trip (beach towels, new flip flops, a beachy ornament for our Christmas tree, and finally, two guide books for Puerto Rico). When he opened the box with the guide books inside, all of the secret keeping was worth it for this face…

Daniel-Surprise-Face

Daniel is rarely surprised… so I rarely see this face.

So one week after Daniel’s birthday, we hopped on a plane from 20 degree weather in Kansas City to 80 degree weather in Old San Juan! I found a cute little loft on Home Away right in the heart of Old San Juan, which allowed us easy access to cute little restaurants and shops.

Daniel-on-our-Street

Our street for the week

We spent our first full day in Old San Juan… mainly checking out the two large forts, Castillo de San Cristóbal and El Morro and walking around the city. The views of Old San Juan from both forts were totally breathtaking, and you could easily spend hours just wandering around looking at everything. We paid $10 total for access to both forts – so cheap!

San-Cristobal
San-Cristobal-2
El-Morro
We utilized the Puerto Rico Day Trips website to figure out what to see – it was very helpful and pointed out some destinations that we may have missed if left to our own devices… and it was how we found out there is a free trolley that will take you to all of the main sections of Old San Juan, so even though this area is totally walkable, we took the trolley when our feet got tired of walking on the cobblestone…

Cobblestone
We hit up a few really good restaurant, namely Pirilo Pizza Rustica (ask to eat upstairs!) and Waffle-Era (cream cheese mini waffle – yuuuuum!), both of which made me wish there was a way I could transport them to KC so I could eat them whenever I wanted. Actually, one of my favorite memories of the trip was sitting by the window at Waffle-Era watching a storm roll over the harbor.

Daniel at WaffleEra

One thing I really didn’t like about Old San Juan (and Puerto Rico overall) was the huge number of stray cats and dogs. There are over 250k stray dogs on the island of Puerto Rico and only 5 shelters to accomodate them. It was hard for me to concentrate on having fun when I saw so many animals in need… and people would just walk on by like they weren’t even there. I think Daniel was a little annoyed with how often I would get sad about a stray dog begging for food or when a cat would follow us and brush against my leg for attention. Or when I would make him go look for the homeless lady with three dogs so I could give her my leftovers… or my umbrella. Basically, my crazy animal lady-ness came out in full force in Puerto Rico.

Kitty-on-the-wall

Overall, I really enjoyed the liveliness, color, and history that Old San Juan had to offer… but what really made me fall in love with Puerto Rico was when we got out of town and did some exploring… which I will share more about next week….

Viejo-San-Juan

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9 Responses

  • avatar Morgan says:

    How gorgeous! My dad moved to Belize about a year and a half ago and I have yet to visit him because he constantly warns me of the plight of homeless animals there. I just don’t think I could have any fun! My hub’s family is from Puerto Rico and we’ve been talking about going for awhile and this is post makes me really want to/really not want to lol. Anyways, glad you had fun (for the most part) and it really looks stunning!

    • avatar Emily says:

      Morgan – with the exception of all the homeless animals, it really was a BEAUTIFUL place and worth visiting. I’ve read some on the stray dog/cat issue since I’ve been back and it looks like there are rescue groups working to alleviate the problem. And you should DEF go to Belize too… I mean, how many people get the opportunity to do that in their lifetime?! :)

  • Wow, what a great surprise for Daniel and and awesome trip for you both. I absolutely love that b/w picture in the waffle place, it’s so artistic. I would have a hard time concentrating as well with so many homeless animals about. I’m sure I would come back broke, both financially and emotionally.

  • avatar Corbin says:

    Love the pctures! We’ve never been to Mexico… but there’s a great photographer up here that works with Homeward Bound and she goes to Mexico twice a year for these huge spay and neuter clinics funded by CANDi International. They steralize the stray animals and even those owned by people who care enough to bring them. They’re also provided shots and wellness care. It’s truly sad to see the photos she brings back, but glad there is an organization trying to make a difference.
    Glad you and Daniel enjoyed your trip!!!
    -Corbin’s momma Jenn

  • avatar OhMelvin says:

    LOVE the photos and agree, the black an white storm watching one is my fave! A local rescue group just got a group of dogs from PR and two of my good friends rescued one. So now there is one less! Glad you had fun!

  • avatar Anita says:

    I adore you because you have the most amazing heart ever. Looks like you two had a wonderful trip. Maybe one day we can open a spay/neuter clinic in PR and live there together. Only problem Pug does NOT do well in the heat 😉
    xoxox

  • What an awesome birthday surprise… I don’t know that I could have pulled that off with John. Maybe one day I’ll give it a try. It’s absolutely beautiful there though, I love the pics!
    And, like you I would have been so sad about the animals and would have tried to feed as many as I could!